Whistler with Kids Winter Guide 2023-24 Season

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Last update: May 23rd, 2024 at 08:45 pm

Whistler with Kids

Affiliate Disclosure: This winter guide to things to do with kids in Whistler contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. 

Whistler with Kids – Introduction

Whistler, renowned for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, is an absolutely exceptional winter destination for families seeking a thrilling yet family-friendly getaway.

Nestled in the breathtaking Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler offers a winter wonderland for children and adults alike. As the largest ski resort in North America, Whistler offers an extensive network of runs catering to all skill levels, ensuring that both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts can enjoy the powdery slopes.

Whistler with Kids Guide

Beyond the exhilarating on-mountain sports, Whistler Blackcomb boasts a charming pedestrian village with a plethora of winter activities that are fun for the entire family, from ice skating at Olympic Plaza, to snowshoeing through a majestic, old-growth forest.

Family Snowshoeing at Whistler Olympic Park
Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

My husband and I have been visiting Whistler every winter since long before our kids were born. Both of our children cut their first turns on the bunny hills at the base of Blackcomb Mountain (with more than a little help from the fine instructors at Whistler Snow School). I created this guide because I want you and your family to get the absolute best out of your visit to this very special mountain town – whether you have young kids or teens in tow.

Please use the following menu to find the best Whistler kids activities, the top hotels in Whistler for families, or tried-and-true kid friendly dining options.

Whistler – The Need to Know

  • Whistler is enormously popular in the winter. Book your accommodations and lessons (if required) as early as possible for the best selection (and pricing). Early booking deals typically end around November 15th. If you miss this, check Whistler Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
  • Advance purchase of the Vail Resorts Epic Lift Pass (with access to their network of resorts) can save you hundreds of dollars on lift passes of 2 days+. These are sold up until the beginning of the season (typically ending during the first week of December).
  • The most popular Whistler restaurants also book up long in advance. If you plan on dining out for dinner, book tables before you trip. There is nothing worse than having to wait around with a hungry kid after an active day on the slopes. (One of the most coveted reservations in Whistler is a lunch table at Christine’s at the top of the Blackcomb Gondola. This restaurant starts taking reservations in early November.)
  • Please note that all Vail Resorts transactions are cashless including retail outlets, restaurants, the Snow School, and basically everything once you are on the mountain(s). For the best experience, book and pay online in advance where possible.

Whistler Kids Ski School

My kids learned to ski in the Whistler ski school kids programs. I still remember how shocked I was to see my 3 year old actually cutting some decent turns down a run on day 3 (as I spied on her from behind a post). They have excellent programs and instructors for both skiing and boarding.

Whistler Ski school for kids
Whistler Snow School

Whistler Snow School offers group 3 and 5-day Whistler kids camp programs. Full and half day private lesson are also available. A discount is offered on the lessons if you purchase an Edge Card (available to residents of Canada and Washington State) or an Epic Pass. Learn more at Whistler Snow School.

When booking Snow School lessons for your child, make sure you book the location closest to your accommodations. The 3 locations are Blackcomb Base, Whistler Village and Creekside.

Note: One of the things I always least looked forward to when visiting ski mountains with my kids was getting our ski rentals. There are companies in Whistler that remove this pain point by fitting your equipment right in your room! Check out Premium Ski Rental Delivery on Viator.com.

Whistler Childcare

Since the pandemic, Whistler has not reopened their three daycare locations. I find this to be such a shame as I made good use of these facilities when I had really young children, not yet ready Snow School.

As an alternative, you can find Whistler childcare through Babysitting Whistler. They have been serving the Whistler community for over 20 years.

If you are looking for things to do in Whistler for kids that might allow you to have a date night, Core Climbing has a solution. They offer a Climb and Dine program for kids 7-14 years (6-9pm) on select nights throughout the winter season ($80 per child + tax).

12 Best Things to do in Whistler with Kids

Wondering what to do in Whistler with kids outside of skiing and boarding? From skating under the stars at the beautiful Olympic Plaza outdoor rink to experiencing the magical winter wonderland light show at Vallea Lumina – you’ll need a few more trips to experience everything Whistler has to offer.

See also, these top booking tours from Viator.com!

1. Whistler Outdoor Skating Rink

A whole bunch of Whistler kids fun can be had at this fantastic outdoor skating rink. Admission is $2, skate rentals are $9, helmets and skating aids are loaned for free.

The Whistler Skating Rink is open daily, typically from late November to mid-March. The hours are 11am – 8:30pm with some closures during the day for ice cleaning. On holidays, the rink may have reduced hours.

The Whistler outdoor skating rink is located at Whistler Olympic Plaza (map). See website for hours and further details.

Skating in Whistler
Image Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Indoor skating is available at Meadow Park Sports Centre, just a short drive or free bus ride from Whistler Village. At this location, you can also find an excellent indoor pool facility (with lazy river and hot tub). See the Meadow Park website for dates and times.

2. The Treehouse Playground

Best Whistler Playground
Whistler Treehouse Playground

The picturesque Whistler Village playground is located right by Olympic Plaza. Conveniently, it is also surrounded by numerous cafes (Starbucks, Blenz, Purebread etc.) and other Whistler family friendly attractions (skating rink, library, toy store, and the candy store).

Note: In the deep of winter, this playground officially closes due to safety issues (ice).

3. The Whistler Snow Zone

Whister for Kids
Image Credit: Justa Jeskova

Looking for free things to do in Whistler with kids? This is one of the best! If there is a snow pile in Whistler Village, there are kids climbing and sliding on it.

The absolute best snow piles for kids in Whistler can be found within the Snow Zone at Olympic Plaza, between the playground and the outdoor skating rink.

Don’t have a sled? No problem. There are usually a few just sitting around in the park. They can also be found for purchase at Whistler Hardware & Gifts.

When the sliding is done, grab a hot chocolate from one of the surrounding cafes and get cozy by the fire pits.

4. The Whistler Public Library

Whistler Public Library
Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

If you are visiting Whistler with a toddler or young kids, the centrally located Whistler Public Library can be an ideal place to spend some time (especially if the weather isn’t great).

Drop-in classes for young children and caregivers include Family Storytime, Music and Rhymes and Singing with Babies. Just click on the item (under Events) and you can see if it is a drop-in class or one your need to pre-register for.

See the library’s family activities Whistler guide on their website.

5. Toys and Treats

Whoola Toys is a great stop if you need to pick up a Lego set, puzzle or game for your little one. Whoola Toys also happens to be located very close to The Great Glass Elevator Candy Shop and Olympic Plaza.

6. Vallea Lumina

Vallea Lumina Whistler
Image Credit: Moment Factory/Vallea Lumina

Vallea Lumina is a unique attraction that involves a beautiful light show in a serene forested setting. The Vallea Lumina Winter Edition runs from October to May each year.

Tickets can be booked online at vallealumina.com (5 year olds and under are free). Find reviews for Vallea Lumina on Tripadvisor.

See also: Ticktets for Vallea Luminea on Viator.com.

Note: Roundtrip transportation from Whistler Village is available to book online along with your Vallea Lumina tickets. The pick up and drop off location is at the Whistler Village Gateway Bus Loop, by the Whistler Village Visitor Info Centre.

7. Winter Zip Lining in Whistler

There are two companies offering winter ziplining in Whistler.

ZipTrek Whistler offers the year-round exhilarating experience of flying through the treetops and over a canyon. Several different tour options are offered for kids 6 years and up, although to ride the super long Sasquatch line, guests must be at least 10 years old.

Learn more on their website or read reviews for Ziptrek Ecotours on Tripadvisor.

See also: Zip lining tickets with Ziptrek on Viator.com.

Alternatively, just a 10 minute drive ride north of Whistler you will find Superfly Ziplines. This adventure center offers an exciting winter zip line tour taking guests through a winter wonderland of old growth forests.

Kids must be 7 years and at least 60 lbs (27.3kg) to ride. Learn more on their website or read reviews for Superfly on Tripadvisor.

8. Whistler Snowmobiling

Image Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

There are several companies running snowmobiling adventures in Whistler. Whether you are a family trying it for the first time, or more experienced riders looking for a full day backcountry adventure, you should be able to find the perfect adventure.

Please see the Tourism Whistler website for a list of snowmobiling providers.

See also: The Callaghan Cruiser snowmobiling tour (kids 5-12 ride for free) from Viator.com.

9. Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing

In Whistler

Cross Country Connection is just a short walk from Whistler Village in Lost Lake Park and offers both private and family group lessons for classic cross country and skate skiing. They rent both ski equipment and snowshoes.

Lost Lake Park has 13km of snowshoe trails and 30km of groomed ski trails. Night skiing is available until 8pm. Trail passes are required for both snowshoeing and nordic skiing. They can be purchased from Passivhaus within Lost Lake Park (home of the Austrian team during the 2010 Winter Olympics).

See also: The Medicine Trail snowshoe tour from Viator.com.

Snowshoeing in Whistler
Whistler Olympic Park

South of Whistler

Just a 30 minute drive south of Whistler village, you will find Whistler Olympic Park – home to all of the cross country skiing, skate skiing and biathalon events for the 2010 Winter Olympic games. With over 90 kilometers of trails, this park offers hours on end of all-ages family fun through one convenient pass (cross country skiing, skate skiing, snowshoeing and more).

Whistler Olympic Park
Destination BC/David McColm

You can even bring the family hound along on certain dog-friendly trails! The Whistler Olympic Nordic Centre has all your equipment rental needs taken care of (including baby Chariot rentals). See website for more information or read reviews on Tripadvisor.

Included in a day pass is access to the tobogganing hills. Be sure to bring your own sled and helmet. (In past years they had some for loan, but this is no longer the case.)

10. Escape Whistler

Escape Whistler is a real-life gaming experience where groups of 2 to 6 people are placed inside a themed room. Groups are presented with puzzles, riddles, and clues – working together to solve them within 45 minutes in order to “Escape” from the situation.

Current themes include The Pirate Ship, The Pinball Machine, The Buried Cabin, Yukon Gold, The Underwater Lair and The Rabbit Hole. Escape Whistler is conveniently located right in the heart of Whistler Village, near the Whistler Village Gondola (see map). Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

See website for more details or read reviews on Tripadvisor.

11. Whistler Fire and Ice Show

Whistler Kids Activities – Fire and Ice Show
Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Enjoy an impressive display of skills as Whistler’s top skiers and riders spin and twist through a burning hoop. This music-filled evening ends with a specular, not-to-be missed fireworks show.

The Fire & Ice Show happens every Sunday evening starting at 7pm in Whistler’s Skier’s Plaza (base of the Whistler & Excaliber gondolas), from New Year’s Eve through mid-March.

Learn more on the Whistler Tourism website.

12. Tubing in Whistler

The Bubly Tube Park is great fun for the whole family and wonderful for kids who still have energy to burn after a day on the mountain. Kids must be at least 3 years, 36″ tall and accompanied by an adult if under 12 years.

The tube park is located at Blackcomb Mountain (Base2) with access from the Excalibur Gondola.

The Whistler Tube Park is typically open from mid-December to mid-April, weather dependent. Please see website for more details or read reviews for the tube park on Tripadvisor.

Whistler Tube Park
Bubly Tube Park – Image Credit: Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

Whistler Family Accommodations

Most Whistler hotels are very family friendly and there are huge number to choose from. The majority of the hotel properties are centered around the lively epicenter of Whistler Village. While this location is handy, some families (including ours) prefer to stay in the quieter Upper Village, just a short 10 minute walk through the forest.

I actually have quite a lot to say about where to stay in Whistler with kids (see post on Best Whistler Family Accommodations) but I have listed my top 5 hotel picks below (and yes, they all have the all-important pool amenity that is so critical to the success of a family trip).

Whistler Family Hotels

The Fours Seasons Whistler
The Fours Seasons Whistler

Whistler Vacation Rentals

VRBO and Airbnb all list hundreds of family vacation rentals in Whistler. If you are looking for true ski in / ski out accommodations, the options are quite limited in Whistler. Be sure to read the fine print and reviews.

If you need to rent baby gear in Whistler, Baby’s on the Go has a good selection and has been serving Whistler visitors for over 25 years.

Dining in Whistler with Kids

Looking for the best family friendly restaurants in Whistler? The great thing about eating out with kids in Whistler is that it is a resort town so almost every restaurant is prepared to pull out a high chair or some colouring pages if needed.  

Please see the following list of my favourite kid-friendly Whistler restaurants. My preference leans towards restaurants that have good-to-great food (a major priority for me), that take reservations, and ideally have a kids’ menu.

Kid Friendly Restaurant Whistler
Pizzeria Antico Whistler

Family Restaurants – Whistler Village Base

Whistler Ice Cream – Cows
Cows Whistler

Whistler Family Restaurants – Creekside

Whistler Family Restaurants – Upper Village

Food Delivery Whistler

The company Door Dash offers food delivery in Whistler. UberEats operates as well, but in a very limited capacity. (This is probably because Uber ride share does not operate in Whistler.)

Grocery Delivery Whistler

If you want to stock up with a few provisions but would prefer to skip the grocery store, Fridge Full from Whistler Cooks will delivery everything from basic groceries to full meal kits (including a Christmas dinner to-go).

Alternatively, and probably a little more economically, the local grocery store Fresh St. Market offers an online grocery ordering service. It is currently available for pick up only (not delivery) from the temperature-controlled lockers outside their store.

Further Reading

4 Responses

  1. Kelsey
    | Reply

    Loved this list! Super updated and relevant as I’m going in early December!

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      I’m so glad. Did you have a nice trip?

  2. Sarah Smith
    | Reply

    Rolands Creekside Pub should definitely be on the Creekside list for families!

    • Tara Cannon
      | Reply

      Thank you for sharing this Sarah. In all of our years going to Whistler we have never been to Rolands!

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